This weekend I thought I would be missing out on the big coached team workout (held on Saturday instead of Sunday). But plans changed at the last minute and I was able to make it. Yesterday I spent much of the day traveling and arrived back home really tired at 8pm. It was the first day that I skipped a TNT workout. 😦 I chose not to beat myself up over it, but I don’t want to make it too easy on myself to allow that to happen very often. It’s so easy to come up with excuses!

So I was happy to be able to get to the coached workout this morning. We had a big swim. We are now officially in the “Fitness” level of swimmers, for better or worse. I got up at 6 and picked up Lily at 7 and we headed up to Novato for the workout. The exciting thing for today is that they set up these underwater cameras so that everyone got video’ed so we can have our strokes analyzed. How cool is that? This is what makes Team in Training so world class. There is this GIANT team of coaches, mentors, captains and overall Helpful People to support you in every way, and they really work hard to help you improve. It’s really so awesome.

Amanda setting up the pool camera

The swim went pretty well but it was long. First we had a warmup of 200 yards. Then we did a set of 25 x 8 (25 = one length) during which we were supposed to start out slow and progressively speed up or exert more and more each successive time. I have a very hard time controlling or gauging my swimming speed so I did #1 glacially slow (ahhh), the middle ones at sort of “regular” and then the last one I tried to imagine that I was swimming away from a shark. That got my heartrate going all right, but I am also sure I was thrashing around like an octopus.

Then we did several uninterrupted sets of 300, 400 and 500 yards (500 = 20 lengths!). At the end of the 400 I felt like I was getting sort of delirious underwater, swimming crooked and having trouble with my breathing. In the middle of the 500 we were told to go get our video recorded. We only had to do 2 lengths for that, and it gave me a much needed break in the 500 or I feel like I might’ve just melted my brain into the pool. Then we did a 200 “cooldown.” I wish I could really do any other stroke – I’m not very good at backstroke or breaststroke so I could really recover more. But all I know is freestyle so that’s what I did.

We got changed into our bike stuff. I was feeling kind of shaky and wobbly and just WEAK after the swim. I’m sure I didn’t drink enough (DUH). I had a KIND bar and tried to drink water. But I was not feeling at my physical or emotional best.

Last week I had an official fitting which was supposed to make things all perfectly aligned and awesome, but: I think the seat is too high because when I get up on my toes, I can barely get my padded bottom onto the seat. Often it gets stuck, which is awkward and… unsmooth. Then, my new bike shoes are too thick for the toe cages I bought. The toe cages officially make me REALLY NERVOUS and I noted that my start-stop is MUCH more anxiety-provoking than last week. I think I might take them off. I am not sure. I got all tangled in stuff and have claw marks up and down my legs just because I was nervous and not doing things right.

There were two bike groups: the Olympic group, which is supposedly me, but they were going for either a 70 or 50 minute ride. The Sprint group was doing allegedly a 30 minute. I wanted to do more than that but I was kind of disoriented and the Olympic group took off and I was not with them. I tried to follow them and catchup but to no avail. For about 15 minutes I was riding completely by myself which I did NOT LIKE. So I stopped and waited for the S group to catch me (that didn’t take long). But then we were going on the wrong route and ended up at the freeway entrance (which I also did NOT LIKE) and had to turn around. Finally we found the street we were supposed to turn on in the first place. This street had the biggest hill I have ever ridden on in my entire life. In every other instance of my life, I would have taken one look at that hill and just walked the bike. But our group leader, Art, urged us to STAY ON THE BIKE and use our gears and our legs and what-all to do the hill. Going up it was pretty hard, but OK. Then we went down. And down and down and down. And I realized that the OTHER side of the hill was even steeper and we’d have to return up it. OH SHIT.

After a while we turned around and started heading uphill — first it was gradual, then it got more and more intense. Then REALLY intense. I desperately put my gears at the very lowest setting and just tried to stay on and stay alive. My breath was totally ragged and I was gasping, gulping and praying for air. AND I felt like I was going to puke my guts out. It was like the most all-out running sprint ever. I knew that if I stopped or got off, I would just collapse into a heap of jelly and there would be no getting up. So I kept going and finally got to the top. At the top, it was not this big relief. I felt like I’d died a little inside. I didn’t really start breathing normally for about half an hour, and I was sort of veering and swerving like a drunk.

I was sort of proud of myself, but also sort of shell-shocked and miserable. It was about 10x harder than last week’s ride had been. I got into the car and sort of wondered again what I had gotten myself into.

blech. unhappy camper

Eventually, people from the Olympic group started coming back in. I had some Gatorade and a little bit of power ball something that someone gave me. I was pretty wacked out for a while. I talked a bit with Katherine, who had been the “sweep” (tail end) of our group and who had been a huge moral support to me when I had a little mid-intersection meltdown over my toe cages and felt too paralyzed to get up and go. She gave me a little pep talk about hills and such and cheered me up somewhat. She is one of maybe two people on the team who might be my age or older, and she has already done triathlons so I have the utmost respect for her. She inspires me. Whereas some of the uber-young people who leapt off their bikes to take an optional RUN after it all, just made me want to weep.

Katherine the Awesome

I started feeling just a tad bit better as people started finishing the other ride. For the record, the Sprint group did a 50 minute ride (not 30!) and the Olympic group did like an 80 minute ride (not 50 or 70).  So it’s always longer than they say it’s going to be. (word to the wise) Today was a day when I was once again feeling very Grinchy about the bike. I hated the toe cages, and hated the height of my seat. Bah, biking!

This is what my mentor Annika and her husband do for fun: she leaps on his back in the “Superwoman” position and then he does squats with her on his back. Fun, huh! These crazy kids!

What fun! Right?

I got home and yes, I was tired. I lay around and read and did stuff on the computer for several hours. Then I took a long nap. Now it’s almost dinner time. I have to come to grips that these big workout days pretty much ruin me for anything else (ie don’t try and do a solo performance or anything dumb like that).

Today’s mood: determined but sober.